Is Christianity a Crutch?
Christianity is often characterized as a crutch. In order to avoid dealing with man’s mortality he must appeal to a god that is capable of bestowing upon him the reward of eternal life. As Karl Marx once said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”
Christianity is frequently painted to be a worldview of the simple minded. Believers are to be pitied for their need to cling to God, who is nothing more than a means of soothing their worried minds and wearied hearts. It is an easy escape from a cruel and indifferent world. The atheist or skeptic is seen as the intellectually superior specimen with one foot firmly planted in academia and the other in harsh reality.
So is Christianity a crutch? Well, in one sense, it is. We live in a broken world, full of suffering and injustice. Every single person that walks this earth seeks something to lean on. Is there a single soul that has not grown weary? It should be pointed out that everyone uses some crutch. Crutches come in many forms: substances, money, sex, food, possessions, relationships, etc. There are a host of things available to offer one mental and emotional support. As Rick Warren is fond of saying, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a hotel for saints.” The Christian understanding of the world is that people are injured, sick with sin, prone to self-destruction and are in desperate need of healing. The Christian would say we are incapable of handling sin, sorrow, and death ourselves and are in need of God.
Some would argue that belief in God only persists because people desperately want it to be true. Again, dealing with sickness and death is taxing on one’s emotions. Yet, can’t we turn this argument on its head? If one suggests that Christians believe simply because they want God to be true, then it might be said that atheists do not believe because they don’t want God to be true.
One might also argue that atheism is a crutch. It is an escape from the moral proscriptions that one is placed under when they believe in God. In fact, living a Christian life is much more difficult when one ascribes themselves to living within a biblical framework. The believer is called to die to self, to love one’s enemies, to respect everyone, to turn the other cheek, and live a moral life. The atheist gets a free pass to live however he or she likes. He is bound to no one but himself. The Christian, instead of getting a crutch, is told to take up their cross.
Christianity is a crutch only in the sense that one realizes they are weak and burdened with sin. The believer leans on Christ’s redemptive acts on Calvary and the grace found there. Finding comfort at the foot of the cross often leads to people leaving many of their former crutches behind.
Christianity is not an excuse to be intellectually lazy. Belief in God is not, as Mark Twain said, “Believing what you know ain’t so.” It is following the truth where it leads and having a reason for belief. It should be pointed out that many of Science’s greatest minds throughout history, including modernity, have been theists. Belief in God is not something that has been divorced from academia. There are thinking Christian’s aplenty.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.